9 October 2013
1879 Northwest Blvd.
Sibley, IA 51249
RE: Complaint 13FC:0019 – concerning an allegation against the Osceola County Board of Supervisors’ board meeting on September 10, 2013
Dear Ms. Buchman:
The Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) received your complaint of September 27, 2013. In that complaint you alleged: That on September 9, 2013, Chairman Bootsma, Osceola County Supervisor, violated Chapter 21 or Chapter 22 by not answering your phone call and not responding to the message that you left on his voice mail requesting to be on the agenda for the September 10, 2013, Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Your complaint also recites an incident that occurred on September 10, 2013, in which you were at the Supervisors’ meeting and asked by Chairman Bootsma to address the Board. You write:
“I was surprised and not prepared, as my notes were at home, but proceeded as best I could. If I was able to address the board by walking into the meeting, by chance, why was I not told I could be on the agenda the day before when I called. (sic) The board minutes do not reflex (sic) my conversation with the board, even though the topic has been on the agenda for months.”
You also provided a copy of the agenda and minutes of the September 10, 2013, meeting, as well as three DVDs covering portions of the meeting. Those materials were also reviewed.
Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Code Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may delegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the Executive Director. The decision of the Executive Director is subject to review by the Board.
The IPIB has jurisdiction to review violations of Chapter 21 (open meetings) and Chapter 22 (public records). Your complaints are not violations of those statutes. Section 21.7 allows a governing body to establish the rules of conduct of a public meeting. There is no legal mandate requiring a public body grant the request of every citizen who requests agenda time.
Iowa Code Section 23.8 provides two options for action by the IPIB upon receipt of a complaint, the second of which states:
“Determine that, on its face, the complaint is outside its jurisdiction, is legally insufficient, is frivolous, is without merit, involves harmless error, or relates to a specific incident that has previously been finally disposed of on its merits by the board or a court. In such a case the board shall decline to accept the complaint. If the board refuses to accept a complaint, the board shall provide the complainant with a written order explaining its reasons for the action.”
For the reasons set forth above, it is therefore ordered that the complaint is dismissed on the grounds that the complaint is outside IPIB jurisdiction, legally insufficient and without merit.
A copy of this Order is being forwarded to the Iowa Public Information Board for review at its next scheduled meeting on November 21.
cc: Osceola County Board of Supervisors